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New Avatar 2 set photos show James Cameron filming with underwater technology

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

These new Avatar 2 set photos offer a glimpse into the unique ways James Cameron and his crew are bringing the underwater sequel to life.

Don’t expect story spoilers here – unless pool noodles somehow play an integral role in the Avatar sequels – but the two new photos are fascinating nonetheless, and come courtesy of the official Avatar account on Twitter.

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In each of the two screens, you can see director James Cameron perched on a platform above a pool and offering instructions to the submerged cast down below. You can even see the camera crew getting in on the action, complete with a rubber dinghy for the equipment.

Cameron, always one to push the boundaries of technology in film, has also implemented a clever trick to stop light reflecting off the water and affecting scenes. See the white material surrounding the pool? The second snap makes things clearer – that's actually a layer of balls designed to make the underwater shoots easier and acts as something for the actors to cling to and use to resurface when needed.

Earlier this year, Cameron revealed the first Avatar 2 concept art (opens in new tab) at the CES 2020 trade show. It’s a world away from the mo-capped magic present above, with it painting a more complete picture of what we can assume the finished version will look like, including some of the settings and locations for the 2021 sequel.

Avatar 2 is still set for release on December 17, 2021, while Cameron is also shooting the later sequels simultaneously. Avatar 3 is out on December 22, 2022; Avatar 4 on December 19, 2025 and Avatar 5 finally hits theaters when we’re old and grey on December 17, 2027.

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.